Emoticons in Gmail - nice idea

By | 8:37 AM 1 comment
Its been a while since I have blogged. Mainly due to the holidays and all. Gmail announced that they're going to have emoticons in Gmail. Thats a great idea, but again I wonder if its not just another "quick" innovation, as compared to a well thought out innovation.

Why were emoticons popular:
Back in the days of chats and terminals, emoticons and actually symbols were used to differentiate messages from the others and also the human brain can process images faster than words. So if you look at it, emoticons progressed from chat rooms and IRC to yahoo chat and other chat programs. Basically because they were the same users who were using them.

Today's audience of email (and specially Gmail) is far different from the old days of computer know-it-alls and wannabes. Its normal people who want to send messages. With Gmail trying to promote emoticons its actually forcing the normal people to start learning what emoticons are. This isn't a great idea. I dont suppose a lot of people will use this.

The other side:
Smileys are better than emoticons ... because although emoticons started with IRC, I suppose a lot of people are using smileys on SMS. Smileys are easier to read anyway.

So overall, I think they're trying to make email more than just text but not going the attachment way. Rather trying to make it more colourful by integrating text with images. That is nice .. and emoticons are a nice way to start, but I guess there can be a better way.

Official Gmail Blog: A picture is worth a thousand words



Kartik said...

If the emoticons are a hit, then that means people have a lot more time on their hands than you think :)